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There must be a problem
Old 03-12-2007, 09:45 PM   #1
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There must be a problem

I got an interesting email at work today. I wonder if this is a real problem for most big companies?

As communicated during the 2007 Open Enrollment, the Benefits Administration Department will be conducting a Dependent Audit this year. The audit will run from April 1 through August 31, 2007 and will include all staff who have dependents (spouse/registered partner/child) enrolled in a Company-offered medical plan and/or the dental plan. Staff who are not enrolled in the medical or dental plans, or are enrolled at Employee only level of coverage will not be required to participate in the audit.



We recognize the value of our staff members and understand the importance of high quality benefits as a significant portion of our overall compensation package. By performing this audit we hope to maintain a balance between the growing cost of benefits and providing our employees with superior benefits plans. To support focus on reducing costs and to ensure that only those who are eligible are using benefits, we are undertaking a positive confirmation of eligible dependents for all employees.



Sometime between April and August, you will receive a package which will include further information and a list of documents you can provide to show proof of eligibility for your dependent(s). Failure to provide the required documentation will result in cancellation of coverage for your dependent(s).



During this time period, Benefits Administration will be available to assist you through this process.
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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-12-2007, 10:02 PM   #2
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Re: There must be a problem

Yep.

DH's mega corp has sent out letters the past few years in regards to benefits for family members. Last year we had to fill out forms on three different occasions to verify that I was not covered by another employer/insurer.

Wouldn't surprise me if they require lie detector tests this year.
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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-12-2007, 10:34 PM   #3
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Re: There must be a problem

I have read of a divorcee keeping their ex on the family plan. Is that kosher? What about significant others? My spouse has kept her own name. I've never had to show a marriage certificate, but other than something like that, how can they tell I'm really married?
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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-12-2007, 10:52 PM   #4
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Re: There must be a problem

This is a big deal in the military. Most servicemembers have at least one story about DEERS enrollment. Lots of documentation and revalidation. It's more complicated than enlisting.
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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-12-2007, 11:02 PM   #5
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Re: There must be a problem

LOL,

Early last year, DH got a call verifying my status as a dependent. A couple of months later, we sent forms declaring yours truly as a valid and eligible dependent. A couple of weeks later, we got a letter stating that I was indeed eligible.

It would be considered fraud if we had lied. However, I have no idea how they would check, we did not have to send in a marriage certificate. This year may be different.

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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-12-2007, 11:05 PM   #6
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Re: There must be a problem

It probably happens more than most companies realize. Nothing really stops an employee from putting down the name of his ex-spouse or significant other as "spouse" or putting his unadopted stepchild, significant other's child, etc. down as a child/dependent. Audits are probably necessary to make sure people are telling the truth, unless you require everyone to produce birth and marriage certificates at the time of sign up.
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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-12-2007, 11:08 PM   #7
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Re: There must be a problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
I have read of a divorcee keeping their ex on the family plan. Is that kosher?
In WA one can get a "Decree of Separate Maintenance" or somesuch. It is a legal separation and allows binding property division. But you are still married, so you can't remarry. But you can keep you separated spouse on your insurance plans. There may be a time limit for the duration of this arrangement.

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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-12-2007, 11:36 PM   #8
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Re: There must be a problem

Quote:
In WA one can get a "Decree of Separate Maintenance" or somesuch. It is a legal separation and allows binding property division. But you are still married, so you can't remarry. But you can keep you separated spouse on your insurance plans. There may be a time limit for the duration of this arrangement.
Now THAT is interesting. Thanks for the comment.

We'd love to put my partner on my health plan, but have no interest in marriage and all the legal baggage that comes with that. Neither do I want to lie about it. Still, we are partners forever and wish we could access this benefit.

But Megacorp won't consider us domestic partners because we're not of the same gender and "could get married if we wanted to!" :P

Do I understand that we could get married, sign him up for benefits, then get the decree and be financial seperate otherwise? Has anyone had any direct experience with such a thing?
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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-12-2007, 11:44 PM   #9
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Re: There must be a problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
Do I understand that we could get married, sign him up for benefits, then get the decree and be financial seperate otherwise? Has anyone had any direct experience with such a thing?
I don't know any details. I had 2 friends who did this- both would have divorced their husbands, but still had enough caring to want to help them keep quality coverage that they would not have been able to get on their own. They were also both fed up with marriage, so the fact of not being allowed to remarry didn't deter them. I have lost contact with these women, so I don't know how it turned out, how long it went on, etc.

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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-12-2007, 11:54 PM   #10
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Re: There must be a problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
Now THAT is interesting. Thanks for the comment.

We'd love to put my partner on my health plan, but have no interest in marriage and all the legal baggage that comes with that. Neither do I want to lie about it. Still, we are partners forever and wish we could access this benefit.

But Megacorp won't consider us domestic partners because we're not of the same gender and "could get married if we wanted to!" :P

Do I understand that we could get married, sign him up for benefits, then get the decree and be financial seperate otherwise? Has anyone had any direct experience with such a thing?
No direct experience, but I know that such a "semi-separated state" exists in a number of states. Not mine, but apparently in WA. You're in CA, IIRC. You'd have to check out your state's divorce laws. After a quick perusal, it looks like the term you might be interested in is "legal separation". Don't know the particulars beyond that.

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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-12-2007, 11:56 PM   #11
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Re: There must be a problem

Now that I think of it I had a co-worker who lived in WA who was legally separated from her husband for years. I thought she was a good Catholic so didn't probe. After he was 65 she divorced him - so maybe it really was her desire to assure he had insurance. The only way I found out that was that they started to rekindle their relationship, then he died unexpectedly.
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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-13-2007, 07:02 AM   #12
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Re: There must be a problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
But Megacorp won't consider us domestic partners because we're not of the same gender and "could get married if we wanted to!"
Interesting. My son's megacorp allowed him to identify his GF as a domestic partner. They plan to marry some time in the future but not now.
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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-13-2007, 03:04 PM   #13
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Re: There must be a problem

Back to the OP - when new employees sign up for insurance with the state, or to amend insurance after a "qualifying event", the employee has to show marriage license, birth certificates, etc.

Also at the first of each year, the plan sends out forms after each person's first claim that must be signed to verify the beneficiary is still eligible and there is no other coverage. So, while there are probably some who try to carry someone they shouldn't (ex spouse), I'm sure bad things will happen if they get caught (if either remarries).

Haven't had a direct audit (request to reproduce verifying documents - but such a thing wouldn't surprise me.

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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-13-2007, 03:25 PM   #14
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Re: There must be a problem

The financial bite of benefits is indeed causing Mega Corp (as mini corps too) to take a closer look at the costs they are paying for these programs. At my mini Mega Corp. domestic partners can be the same of opposite sex. There is a form that must be notorized. Married dependent coverage does no require the same form nor are marriage certs. required. However, if a big benefit is to be paid out (life insurance, disability, etc) then a certificate would be required.

Can't say I really blame them for checking to be sure there is no fraud. Things are tight everywhere.
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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-13-2007, 04:54 PM   #15
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Re: There must be a problem

We recognize the value of our staff members ... To support focus on reducing costs ... we are undertaking a positive confirmation of eligible dependents for all employees.

Typical "make it sound positive" speak from today's corporation world. Too bad they can't just say:

"We think some of you are lying about your dependents, so we'll be asking for proof next month."
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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-13-2007, 06:17 PM   #16
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Re: There must be a problem

My neighbor works at a hospital - and the employees had to go through pretty exhaustive proof of their dependent's citizenship and dependency status for medical coverage.

My Megacorp mandates if one's spouse can get health insurance at their own job - they have to get - and won't be covered under Megacorp.

This often results in paying two monthly premiums - one spouse at one company and then "family" coverage (other spouse and kids) at other company.
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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-13-2007, 06:25 PM   #17
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Re: There must be a problem

I really don't see that as a big deal. Someone mentioned earlier about military & DEERS enrollment. Mandatory to get the person covered through DEERS. No problem here providing birth, death, marriage, adoption, or divorce records/certificates. I am amazed that when I started working for the state they did not ask for this stuff. (or that megacorps don't seem to either)

As a former recruiter, I was amazed how many people did NOT have in their possession their diplomas, college records/degrees, birth certificates, and SSN cards. Do these things grow legs?
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Re: There must be a problem
Old 03-13-2007, 08:56 PM   #18
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Re: There must be a problem

The State of Alaska, upon my retirement, required a copy of our marriage certificate in order to cover my spouse with health insurance, even though I'd sent them one years ago when I worked for the State and they'd been covering him for many years already.
Starting last year, they said are going to require ANOTHER copy of the marriage certificate EACH YEAR. Is this silly or what? The marriage certificate doesn't ever change - and there's no proof we have not divorced!
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